Anti aging guide

Alcoholism and the Health



Why alcohol misuse can damage the health and how it affect old people in later life?

Alcoholism is the repeated consumption of alcoholic beverages to the extent that it leads to dependency, physical disease, or other
harm (World Health Organization 1977).

5-12 per cent of men and 1-2 per cent of women in their 60s are ‘problem drinkers’. They can be divided into the ‘graduates’, who had been drinking heavily down the years, and the ‘late-onset’ drinkers who have started heavy consumption in later life, often in response to some life event such as retirement or bereavement, in order to anesthetize the pain of reality. Elderly drinkers are more inclined to conceal their habit than younger ones, and they are more likely to maintain a constantly high intake rather than to indulge in periodic ‘binges’.

Alcohol misuse can seriously damage the health, perhaps particularly in later life when a reduction in the body water and the lean body mass may lead to higher blood levels after a given dose. The dangers are greatly heightened by the concurrent use of hypnotics, tranquillizers, antidepressants, and certain other drugs.

Among the adverse effects of alcohol is a predisposition to self-neglect and poor hygiene and nutrition. Aches and pains, insomnia, loss of libido, depression, and anxiety may all be caused or aggravated by excessive alcohol and may in turn lead to a misguided search for solace in the bottle. Falls are a further danger, and damage to brain, liver, and nerves frequently follows prolonged misuse. Referral to a drinking problem clinic is advisable as soon as the problem is recognized by the subject.


An hallucination is the experience of seeing a person, animal, or object when in reality there is nothing there. It is a common experience in later life and does not indicate that the subject is going mad. Hallucinations of the loved one are common following bereavement. Hallucinations are also common among people with visual disorders. Bizarre visions are a common and distressing adverse effect of a number of drugs, notably those given for Parkinson’s disease: they are also a feature of alcohol misuse and abrupt withdrawal. They are encountered in association with depression, and also in certain other psychiatric disorders.

Paranoid psychosis

One of these disorders is paraphrenia, in which the hallucinations are more often auditory than visual. It is a kind of late-life schizophrenic illness without the same disorder of thought and personality. Delusions of persecution by neighbors or relatives are the rule, and the subject may accuse them of stealing, tampering with walls or doors, or derogatory remarks. Lonely, unmarried women are most often affected, especially those who are deaf. As with all deluded, hallucinating (or confused) old people, confrontation must be avoided. The response to major tranquillizers is generally good-if the patient can be persuaded to take them.

Posted by Carol Hudgens - April 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm